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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Pictures ~ Molly Update

Several days ago (or was it weeks), Magdalena asked for updated Molly pictures, so today I took some. At least I tried. This critter is a bundle of motion and most of the pictures came out as nothing but a blurred streak. I did manage to get three. Funny thing is, in the two close-ups, she's squinting. And the sun wasn't even shining today. If you click here, you can see the transformation between the time we brought her home and now. She doesn't even look like the same dog! Just look at those ears from six weeks ago and look at them now! If they keep growing, she's going to look like Dumbo. Despite the ears, she's still small, weighing in at a little over 3 lbs.

Here's another shot--and she's still squinting.

Finally, I sat her in a yard chair so she would stop moving and jumping around. It turned out to be a nice profile view, but I think a drop of rain got on the camera lens because there's a smudgy looking spot near the bottom.

I had to include this shot of my dogwood tree out in the front yard. Last year it only had about a handful of blooms, but as you can see, it came out in its full glory this year.

Now I'm off to write my daily quota. Hope you all have a picture-perfect and productive day!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Little Man

This is Little Man. Yes, that truly is what we call him. But there's a perfectly logical explanation.

Four springs ago, hubby and I were sitting out back one evening when this little guy came walking out of the the woods. He came over to us and acted like he knew us and was glad to be home. At the time, he wasn't yet full grown. He had a lot of wounds and missing hair and the poor little guy was just a rack of bones, he was so skinny.

There was never any question. We took him in and took care of him. But we always figured he'd wandered away from home and had been lost for a while. For one thing, someone had gone to the expense of having him neutered. I couldn't imagine that anyone would have brought him out into the country and dropped him. Maybe his owner would eventually come looking for him. That being the case, at first we didn't feel he belonged to us. So, we didn't name him. We just referred to him as Little Man.

Time passed and no one came looking. His wounds healed and his hair grew back, and regular meals put some meat on his bones. He's an absolute sweetheart, but the Little Man moniker stuck. He and Zeb were best buddies and he grieved when we had to have Zeb put down. Then, when we brought Molly home, he perked right up. At first, we thought he might try to hurt or even kill her, but no, he fell in love with a little puppy. Now, Molly's his best buddy and they romp and play all over the back yard.

In this picture, the flash did something weird to his eyes. I wish I had a good side view of his face because he has a nearly flat profile and a tiny nose. Anyway, I just wanted to introduce you to yet another member of our family.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Game Plan

For the past two weeks I've been stewing about goals. As a result, I've decided it's time to set different bars. The fact is, western historical romance is a hard sell, even to readers. For quite a while, the talk has been that they're making a comeback. But I still see the same publishers (Harlequin, Kensington, Dorchester, etc.) putting out their usual quotas of western romances. Point me to one of the big unreachables (Bantam, St. Martin's, et.al.) who has published a western historical lately and then I'll believe they're making a comeback. It's just a fact--as much as I wish it weren't so--that western historicals aren't big with readers. I intend to keep writing my westerns, but I'm going to a different word length. After all these years I've decided to look at the market realistically and I intend to adjust accordingly.

Meanwhile, the market for FF&P remains strong, with no signs of flagging in the near future. It's the times we live in. This is the sci-fi and fantasy generation. So I've decided not to concentrate solely on one nearly dead genre and give equal time to finishing up the fantasy and paranormals I have started. I've been in a rut anyway, so why not.

Speaking of Sci-fi, did anyone besides me watch the recent Battlestar Galactica series? For a while, it was the best show on tv, until it started going downhill. Which was inevitable, I suppose. They always do, at some point. I had a feeling it was going to end badly, and it certainly did. I was very put out with them. Not to mention the fact that they never did explain the Jimi Hendrix "All Along the Watchtower" connection.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Pawpaw Patch

Have you ever eaten a pawpaw? They're delicious. The ones in the picture are still green, but when they're ripe they turn a yellowish color. The taste is banana-like, only different. There's really nothing that tastes exactly like a pawpaw, so if you've never eaten one, it's kinda hard to describe. The pulp is banana-like also, only mushier when ripe, and all the seeds are in the center of the fruit.

You won't find pawpaws in the grocery. They don't ship well and definitely don't keep long enough to stock. So they have no real commercial value. When I was a kid, they grew wild all over the hills in this area. We used to go into the woods and collect buckets of them. They get huge and can weigh up to a pound. But something happened to the trees. They caught a blight or something and all but disappeared. I haven't seen a pawpaw in many years.

But guess what. We now have five trees growing in our yard. At least I hope they'll be growing in our yard. Right now, they look like twigs sticking in the ground with a tiny bit of green growth sprouting from them. They don't transplant very well, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they survive. My mother-in-law had some seeds a couple of years ago and tossed them into her flower bed. They sprouted and grew.

For the past couple of days, hubby and I have been enjoying this hot, gorgeous weather by working in the yard. We have flowers and blooming shrubs everywhere. We've also planted a few vegetables. Early this morning, hubby went to the flea market and found a treasure. It's a push broom with a hollow handle and you can attach a water hose to the end of it. That way, water continuously flows from the brush. Sounds ridiculous, but hubby was in Hog Heaven applying this thing to his garage floor. The man mops the garage. Yes, the floor is painted and he tries to keep it as clean as the floors inside the house, which is just silly, in my opinion. It's a garage. It's technically outdoors--if you open up the doors. Yet hubby insists on obsessing over the garage floor. So sweep and mop he does, and I don't say anything anymore, I just let him knock himself out. A clean garage floor seems to make him happy. So he used this push broom with water flowing from it, and some liquid detergent, and scrubbed it down good. Then he used his giant squeegee (the thing's 3 ft. wide) to get rid of the water by scraping it all toward the drain in the middle of the floor.

Okay, enough about squeegees and pawpaws. Tomorrow, something about writing, or at least something writing related.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Something Positive

Okay. I said I'd be back when I have something positive to report. So I'm back with something positive to report. Didn't take long, did it?

I've started a new project and I'm flying into the wind without knowing precisely what will trigger the black moment. Wheeee! There's conflict galore and oodles of baggage, so I'm confident events will converge at some point and it will seem like all is lost.

Just a few short years ago, I was a seat of the pants writer. Then I became a plotter because everyone around me insisted that's how it had to be done. The transition wasn't easy and to be honest, I've never quite reconciled to it. A part of me has always been a holdout for the unknown, the mystery, the magic of the journey itself, and the faith that the story will unfold in the most natural way. As long as I know the elements that are required, I don't think I can go too far off track. Lately, those danged plot points--trying to figure all of them out to a gnat's patoot beforehand, has been tying my creativity in knots. So I've decided to untangle and just go with the flow. Also, I'm trying a different type of heroine (for me, anyway).

I have to say, though, that once you become a plotter, you can never truly go back, not completely. So I think we need to come up with a new term for writers who do a little of both. Maybe pantsyplotter, or something. I'm open to suggestions.

Which method works for you? Pantser or plotter? Or are you a pantsyplotter, too?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Too Much Reality

Well, I wrote out a HUGE post, then immediately trashed it. Too much reality is not good. I'll be back when I can think of something uplifting or even slightly pleasant to write about. In the meantime, keep plugging!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Me and the Big 55

Well, I wasn't going to mention it. Had planned to pretend it was just another day. But now it's after midnight, so it's officially April 21st. Everyone in the house is tucked into bed, except me. I took a nap earlier this evening because I didn't feel well. Nothing wrong in particular, just a general malaise and swimmy head. I think it's spring fever, but hubby says I'm depressed because it's my birthday.

Cousin Vondie and I are exactly the same age, give or take four months. The other day, we were joking about being considered senior citizens and being able to get a discount at restaurants. But I don't feel like I should be there just yet. I'm still here, where I've always been inside my head. Sixteen seems like just yesterday and I have to wonder, what have I been doing all these years?

Oh, who are these pictures? These are me and Vondie, at two different stages of childhood. Boy, will she be surprised when she sees these. I'm always the one holding the dog or cat. In nearly every picture of me as a child, I'm holding a dog, cat, or chicken.

Anyway, I've now been here 55 years and I can't be depressed about that. I'm thankful and privileged to have lived my life to this point with no major illness or accidents. I've been blessed with the people I love. I've been lucky to have the chance to pursue my dreams. And in the end, I'm still here, plugging away and I hope to continue for a long time to come. God willing and the creek don't rise.

For some reason, I turn nostalgic every April 21st. But tomorrow, I'll look to the future again. It's springtime and promise is in the air. Anything is possible.


Monday, April 20, 2009

A 2-Movie Weekend

I'll start off with the bad news--Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Very disappointing. This movie's main purpose seemed to be paying homage to computer-generated special effects. There was too much ridiculous action and too little story and explanation in this one. Indy seemed to pull the answers to the clues out of the air, which left me scratching my head most of the time. And I could have done without the return of Marion. For me, she was the only weak spot in Raiders simply because I thought the casting people made a huge mistake. In this latest installment of a previously very enjoyable series, Lucas and Spielberg lost me the moment they put Indy at ground zero during a nuclear explosion. Not only did he survive, he got up and walked away while the mushroom cloud was still rising behind him. Simply ridiculous. Last, but not least, there's Harrison Ford's age. He looked his age in this movie and I would rather have remembered Indiana Jones as he was in the first three movies. Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade were marvelous. Too bad they didn't stop while they were ahead. Cate Blanchett did a laughable parody of every Natasha the Russian super agent ever filmed. The one highlight for me was Ray Winstone. I loved him as Will Scarlett in the Showtime Robin Hood series from about 25 years ago, so it was good to see him again.

Now for the good news--Australia was a sweeping 3 hours of adventure and romance. It started off a little strange and confusing, but then it picked right up and took off. I've never been a Hugh Jackman fan. I find nothing at all appealing about his Wolverine character, and Van Helsing was a computer-generated nightmare. But as Drover, he won me over in this movie. As usual, Nicole Kidman did a marvelous job of acting. She played the character of Sarah Ashley, widow and new owner of a cattle station in Northern Australia. The story begins in 1939 and ends just after the Japanese invasion of Darwin. In between, there's strife at the station, and a cattle drive across the Outback. For me, the person who stole the show was Nullah, the little Aboriginal boy whose charming voice narrates the story. If you're a sucker for a good old fashioned romance and happy endings, I highly recommend this movie because it delivers on all counts. I enjoyed it very much.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

It Doesn't Grow on Trees

For the stout of heart who are interested in seeing the financial reality of publishing with a small press or e-pub, take a look at Pat Rice's Money Matters post on her blog. The only comment I would make is that I think Pat's figure of a 50% royalty on an e-book is a little high. Anywhere from 30% to 45% is more in the normal range, and many publishers figure the author's bottom line after seller discounts have been taken out, so you're actually making even less.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hot Diggety Blogs!

This evening I spent quite a while cruising blogs. I looked at well-known author blogs and little known author blogs, as well as a few group and agent and editor blogs. The one thing I found they all have in common is they contain a lot of information or they're clever and entertaining. New book releases, sharing research, writing tips, you name it. There's a wealth of information out there. I also saw a lot of authors having other authors as guest bloggers. (Doesn't everyone on the planet have their own blog these days?) After looking at a couple dozen of these, I began to feel like I've somehow missed the blog boat. No one told me these posts were supposed to have a point and actually be useful in some capacity. And everyone is so busy, busy, busy, I don't see how they ever get any writing done.

Okay. Moving right along. A funny thing happened the other day. Hubby and I were at Wal-mart, like together, at the same time, in the store, which almost never happens because we rarely go anywhere together. Anyway, we were inside the store talking to a friend who works there when this nice looking middle-aged couple walked up to us and asked where they could find the beer. The three of us stood there, stunned, and stared at these people for at least 30 seconds before someone blurted out, "There isn't any alcohol here. It's a dry county." Then it was the couple's turn to look stunned. They said they'd heard of such things, but didn't realize there were still places like that. We asked where they were from. They said they were on vacation, just passing through, and stopped in to get a few supplies. We told them to get on the freeway and head north, or south to Tennessee. When they got to Richmond, or Jellico, (depending on which direction they chose) then they could buy beer because it was wet from that point forward. It just struck me odd that someone asking a simple question like, "Where's the beer?" had the power to stop three grown people in their tracks.

On a related note... I've thought about changing the title of my blog to The Hoot From the Holler, but I doubt anyone who doesn't live here in the sticks where there are still dry counties and bootleggers would get it.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I love reading everyone's blogs because you all are always "doing," and I get to read about the things that happen in your lives. I enjoy doing my blog but often have a hard time finding anything to write about. Who wants to read about me taking a turn around the yard. Yes, my lilies are coming up very nicely since I moved them. -or- Oops. Molly had an accident with her potty training last night. Not exactly what I call riveting prose. Not much goes on around here with me except the normal, daily routine of house and family and the writing process. Not that I'm complaining. These days, I thrive on routine and any deviation upsets my applecart. But, recently, I've discovered something about myself. If I'm not writing some kind of big physical action, I'm bored silly. So, yes, of course I'm living vicariously through my characters and their stories. I freely admit it. Writing is my Calgon that takes me away.

I noticed this since I've been rewriting the beginning of the manuscript I'm working on. On the advice of an agent who gave me a critique, I took out the big action scene at the very beginning of the story. Without it, I'm finding that my heroine has become the proactive, reactive character and my hero has kinda faded to the background. Furthermore, it's boring me silly. And it shouldn't. I read books all the time that have far less going on action-wise. Books that are nothing but the emotional struggle between the two main protagonists. The reality is, this manuscript is turning out to be a different kind of story than I intended. In later chapters, the action-adventure type stuff does kick in, but it's not happening soon enough for me. And when I say action, I'm talking about the faced-with-danger-or-death and very physical situation kinds of action. Still, I keep plowing onward because in the back of my mind, I know there's enough there to carry the story forward. I hope.

I suspect I'm scared of writing a snoozer, afraid I'll never match what I did with my first book. One of the most common comments about my debut novel is that it's a page-turner. That's because nearly every chapter has some kind of big action going on that ends on a hook. The hero is a larger-than-life type, but how many stories lend themselves to that kind of character? In the story I'm currently writing, the hero is more of an average man (or cowboy) type who resorts to desperate measures when faced with desperate times.

So, in view of the fact that I have a dearth of topics to blog about, it looks like I'm doomed to keep pouring out my writing insecurities for all of blogdom to read. Maybe I should just practice sitting on my hands. Or, maybe I should just turn this energy toward finishing the manuscript and see what happens. At any rate, I hope you all have a pleasant, productive day.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Slo Wri-tah

Yesterday, while most people were visiting with family, hunting Easter eggs, or whatever they decided to do to celebrate the holiday, hubby worked most of the day so, left to my own devices, I got in a good deal of writing time. Since the subject of speedy writing, of just pouring the words onto the page, has become an issue lately, I've been keeping track. No matter how I try, a good writing day for me is around 1,ooo new words on the page. I've found I spend about half my writing time producing new words. The other half, I spend going over the material I wrote the previous day or two and tweaking, layering in, etc. Most people tell me not to do this, but I have to. First of all, it brings me up to speed with where I left off in the story. Second, it brings the writing I have produced one step closer to being a finished product. Sorry all you prolific speed writers out there, but I just can't bring myself to let it all rip and end up with a first draft that will require intensive editing afterwards. I'd end up with a mess. I'm slow, but sure, and I've decided I'm comfortable with that. If I can consistently produce 1,000 words a day, that will give me a finished manuscript in 3 months time. That's plenty fast enough for me.

I hope you all had a good Easter weekend. I made the Pockets of Lemon cake yesterday. That thing is rich! I mean, sickeningly rich. One serving and I'm good in the sweet department for the rest of the week. Hubby liked it. He had a slice this morning with his coffee before going to work.

Another brewhaha in romanceland came to light over the weekend. Amazon has deranked most of the GLBT and erotic books listed on its site. Which means, they don't come up on the home page search engine. Since this caused such an uproar, Amazon is now trying to claim it was a glitch in the system. But there's documented evidence that someone made a conscious decision about this new policy. If you're interested, you can read all about it over at Dear Author. All of yesterday's posts (3 total) were dedicated to the controversy. Never a dull day in Romanceland.

Okay. I'm off to tweak another chapter and fill in a couple of missing scenes. Hope you all have a pleasant, productive day.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!

The Dream

Sometimes when I run across a bit of news about authors or the publishing industry that I find interesting, I share it with my husband. I mean, it’s not like we’re overflowing with material for conversation around here. Yesterday was just such a morning. I told him about the comments I’d read over on Bookends regarding royalties. In case you want to read, the eye-opening information isn’t contained in the post itself, but in the comments section, where authors have weighed in with their personal experiences. Anyway, sharing this with hubby was a mistake. I should know by now not to tell him anything that reflects negatively on writing or the quest for publication. Why? Because his response was, “So, what’s the point in trying?” Meaning: so why even waste your time trying to write something publishable and then try to get it published?

I realize he gets tired of the house not being as tidy as it maybe should be. Not to mention hastily thrown-together meals on those days when I’m stressed because the writing isn’t going well. Or when it is going well and I write most of the day and let everything else around here go begging. In his perfect world, I would meet him at the door with a smile, the mail, and a cup of coffee in hand and tell him supper is on the table and he can eat just as soon as he’s ready. Our ideas of a perfect world don’t often mesh.

Don’t get me wrong. He’s always been supportive, in that he allows me the space to let things go longer than they should so I can sit here at the computer and pursue my dream.

I wonder if it would have been better to leave him in the dark about the industry and the reality. All these years I’ve been telling him the truth, and sometimes he turns that knowledge against me. Maybe it would have been better to let him think that if I get published with one of the big houses, we’d be rolling in money and our worries would be over. Because that’s what most people in the general public think, you know. That when you get published, money is thrown at you by the handfuls. That’s the image that’s been perpetuated by the popular media, in movies mostly, and sometimes on tv. Ha. If they only knew.

The thing is, hubby doesn’t like to see me stressed. He doesn’t like to see me sit here for endless hours in my robe with the blinds closed, cave-like, while the sun is shining outside. He doesn’t like to see me knock myself out year after year, doing something that may never reap any reward. He thinks I’d be happier if I lived my life like a so-called normal person. But what about those days when I’m on top of the world because a scene or chapter has fallen perfectly from my fingertips to the page? What about the incomparable high of a project completed, of seeing my words in print? What about the notes from readers that make me feel I may just be worth something after all? Doesn’t all that count for anything?

Anyway. Yesterday, I spent several hours feeling sad because I knew hubby would be happier if I gave up writing altogether. Part of me wishes I could oblige him, but I’ve tried it before—giving up, that is. It didn’t work out. Not for me, anyway. Writing is the one thing I have that is all mine. It’s the dream I strive for, keep reaching for. Without dreams, there is only grim reality and the daily tedium of keeping up with the house and the family’s needs. I have needs, too, and I’ve reached the age where I’m just selfish enough to try and fulfill them. No one, not my husband or my children, can give me everything I need to make me truly happy. Only I can do that. This realization came only after many years of struggle. There was a time when I had to fight for my right to pursue my dream. Eventually, I won ground, and I don't see any reason to give it up again.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mid-Week Hodgepodge

Tonight was elimination night on American idol. Scott McIntyre was sent home. No matter how much I know these people need to go, it's always sad when it happens. Last week, I was keeping my fingers crossed it would be Megan. That girl shouldn't be allowed to sing in the shower, in my opinion. Then, when she was voted off, her goodbye tribute made me tear up. Yeah, I'm just a mushy old sentimental jerk. One thing though, after last week I've finally decided about the final four. I have a feeling Adam is going to win and I'm beginning to think he deserves it. But I can't decide between Kris and Danny for the number two spot. Danny started off being one of my favorites, but now I'm leaning toward Kris. Allison Iraheta definitely deserves to be one of the final four. The girl gives a solid vocal performance week after week. A final note about Idol. I hate this "judge's save" thing they've come up with this year. All they've done is add more drama. And they can only do it up to the final five. Well, this renders it worthless. In past seasons, all the people who were voted off before they should have been were sent home while in the Top 5. According to these new rules they've dreamed up, the judge's save can't be used once they get to Top 5. So what's it worth? It wouldn't have saved Chris Daughtry. It wouldn't have saved Tamrya Gray. I know I'm leaving someone out, but maybe it'll come to me later.

Moving along... Have you heard about readers boycotting all e-books priced above $9.99 over on Amazon? If not, you can read all about it over on Galleycat. One commenter stated that it was necessary for the publishers to charge high prices because of all the overhead involved and because Amazon takes such a huge cut. I have to admit that my brows took a hike north at that one. What overhead? Once you have a digital copy of a book, there's no overhead involved. A gajillion copies of that book could go out to consumers with no material expense involved whatsoever. And as far as Amazon taking a huge cut--all I can say about that is, my book is listed at Amazon in Kindle format for $4.80. Comparatively speaking, I get paid nearly the same in royalties from the $4.80 Kindle edition as I do from, say, a download sold for $6.00 at Fictionwise. I just think some of the prices for e-books out there is a little over the top, but I really don't have enough info to make a compelling argument for or against. So, you'll have to look at the facts and make up your own minds on this one.

Finally, there's an article over at Writer Beware about self-published authors and pod (print on demand) books. The article reinforces the fact that most book-buying readers, distributors, etc. see all pod books as products of vanity presses. This is a fact because I've seen it for myself on reader forums, and speaking as an author with a pod book that is NOT self-published, this makes me see red. Never mind that there's an emerging segment of small, independent presses out there who are putting out print on demand books, or the fact that these books are NOT self-published and the publishers are NOT vanity presses. As long as booksellers like Amazon--who just happens to own its own vanity press--allows self-published books to be listed for sale along with everything else on the market, the pod stigma is not going away anytime soon.

Okay. I'm taking a deep breath now and calling it a night. Happy tomorrow, people!



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Disappearing Post

My apologies for posting something last night and then whisking it down this morning. It had song lyrics (the entire song) and I was afraid I was stepping on some copyright issues, so I took it down.

While I'm here, might as well spout off a bit. It snowed last night, then again today. There's nothing on the ground right now. It all melted when it got daylight. But the temperature fell below freezing last night, and it's supposed to be even colder tonight. These crazy climate changes are playing ruin with everything that grows in this region for the past several years. Every year, the temperatures get into the 70's and sometimes even the 80's in March, tricking everything in nature to think it's summertime and forcing it to grow. Then, an April freeze comes along and all the unsuspecting, beautiful plants and flowers, even small trees, get frozen where they stand. It's very discouraging, not to mention heartbreaking to watch the plants and flowers get killed year after year.

I know we're not supposed to complain about Mother Nature, but her little surprises are becoming habit. Later on, we'll probably have another drought. It's getting so we can't even grow any decent vegetables here in farm country.

I'll stop griping now because it never helps a thing. I'm going back to writing. Here's hoping the rest of the week has a better outlook.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Simple Cake Recipe

Easter is only a week away so I thought I'd share a recipe for a simple to make, yet yummy, dessert. I got this from a Kroger mailing. About twice a month, I receive an envelope from them with coupons and recipes. They send special mailings for holidays.

Pockets of Lemon Cake

Cake: 1 white cake mix.

Filling: 1 (3.4 oz.) box lemon instant pudding & pie filling, prepared

Frosting: 1 (16 oz.) can lemon or vanilla frosting and 1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13X9 inch pan with flour no-stick baking spray. Prepare cake mix as directed on package. Spread batter in prepared pan. Drop pie filling by heaping teaspoonfuls evenly onto batter.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until edges pull away from pan and top is golden. Cool cake in pan for 45 minutes or until completely cooled.

Combine frosting and whipped topping in medium bowl; blend well. Spread over cooled cake. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Makes 16 servings.

It doesn't get much easier than that, and that picture is making me hungry. :o)



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Twitter-Tweeter, Jibber-Jabber

Last night I received an email from Twitter, informing me that someone was following (or whatever they call it over there) my profile. Until then, I'd forgotten that I'd signed up for that. And the only reason I did sign on was to try and see all the brewhaha known as #queryfail.

Well, I never did see the agent postings, nor could I make sense of how to navigate the site. Rather than waste time trying to figure out how to take part in yet another time suck, I clicked out of it and never went back. Pretty much the same thing happened with Facebook. I don't see what all the excitement is about, so I won't be doing it.

Back when everyone was first getting into MySpace, I was resistant to that, too. But, finally, I broke over and created a page for myself. At first it was foreign territory but, eventually, I learned how to add a few bells and whistles to my page and found the perfect layout to complement my book cover. All of that took time. Lots of time. Now that I'm familiar with the workings of MySpace, I no longer spend much time there. If I get a notice of a friend request or comment, I sign in and okay them, then I'm out again. I just don't see the big attraction.

Lately, I've been wondering just how many more ways people are going to come up with to "communicate" via cyberspace. I feel I already spend enough time keeping up with my friends via email, doing this blog, keeping abreast of my other favorite blogs, and keeping my web site current. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel we may be getting an overload of communication and information out there? Some people, and I'm not only talking about writers, but editors and agents, spread themselves so thin among all these new communication and information sites, I wonder how they ever have time for writing or editing and agenting. No wonder we don't have time to do everything we need to do, we waste most of it. One strange side effect of having so much information and personal glimpses into the lives of editors and agents is that when I sit down in front of my keyboard these days, I no longer feel like it's just me and my story. As I write, I sense all these industry professionals looking over my shoulder, and it's a tad inhibiting to the old creativity.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm against these things. I'm just saying I think we need to pick and choose the things we feel are worthwhile and stick to those. I love keeping up with my friends over email, and I love doing this blog. But that's pretty much where I draw the line. Any more than that is seriously interfering in the time I should be working on my manuscript or attending to home and family.